Mauritius: The national Market Fair, ‘La grande Foire de l’Indépendance’, which is being held from 03 to 05 March 2023, was launched yesterday in Central Flacq on the parking lot adjacent to the Bus Terminal.
This Fair is being organised by the Ministry of Industrial Development, SMEs, and Cooperatives in the context of the celebrations of the 55th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Mauritius. The Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security and the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping are also participating in this event.
The Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, the Minister of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Darsanand Balgobin, and other eminent personalities were present.
Some 300 participants from around the island are participating in the Market Fair. The products being sold include: fresh flowers, potted plants, vegetables and fruits, food items, agro-processed items, spices, textiles, shoes, bags, jewellery, and handicraft.
Prior to the launching event, a Rally was organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Arts and Cultural Heritage, which started at Lycée Polytechnique Sir Guy Forget and ended at the Market Fair’s location site. A fashion show designed by the Academy of Design and Innovation, a Cultural Programme and; a Food Fair were also held on that occasion.
In his address, Minister Bholah indicated that the objectives of this Fair are to promote the savoir-faire of Mauritian enterprises and give enhanced visibility to local entrepreneurs and locally manufactured products.
He highlighted that over the past 55 years, our business community had worked hard and contributed significantly to the growth of the Republic of Mauritius, locally and internationally.
Minister Bholah underlined that such fairs generate great interest from SMEs, cooperative societies, and the public. He further added that his Ministry continuously organises such market fairs at regular intervals across the country with the main objective of providing an outlet for Cooperatives and entrepreneurs to market their products.
These fairs, he stated, offer sale opportunities to cooperators as well as consolidate their customer base. On this score, the Minister encouraged the public to participate fully in the Fair and support local entrepreneurs in their small businesses.
He further encouraged the public to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and to take advantage of the various facilities put at the disposal of entrepreneurs.
The Minister also spoke about some of the assistance schemes provided by SME Mauritius Ltd and the Cooperatives Division to support the local industry and to improve the competitiveness of our entrepreneurs, including:
- Grants to purchase equipment and acquire new technologies;
- Consultancy services;
- Setting up their websites and social platforms for better visibility;
- Intensive training by SME Mauritius Ltd and the National Cooperative College and;
- Financing schemes for entrepreneurs.
Speaking of SMEs, the Minister underscored that SMEs have enormous potential and contribute up to 50% of national employment and 40% to the Gross Domestic Product. “If entrepreneurs want to keep up with this trend, they need to continuously innovate as this is a sector which is very competitive,” he stated.
As regards the Cooperatives sector, Mr Bholah observed that Cooperatives have existed in Mauritius for nearly 106 years and, over time, they have diversified and greatly helped in the promotion of socio-economic development. “There are currently some 955 active cooperatives with 114,000 members that generate nearly Rs 3,4 billion in turnover,” he recalled.
According to Minister Bholah, this turnover is due to the conducive environment and all the facilities put in place by the Government. “Cooperatives are helping to overcome several major challenges looming on the horizon and are helping in consolidating several areas including food security; fighting poverty; women empowerment; ecological contribution through the installation of photovoltaic panels,” he said.
On this score, the Minister commended the efforts of our manufacturers for their perseverance and courage and reiterated the support of the Government to local producers and the business community. “Today, patriotism is also about favouring Mauritian products, and I appeal to you all to come to support the local market to help our country strengthen its existing solid reputation internationally,” he added.
It is recalled that entrance to the Market Fair is free of charge.
The public can visit the Fair as per the following schedule:
- Friday 03 and Saturday 04 March 2023 from 9.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.
- Sunday 05 March 2023 from 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.